‘My respect would be heightened’: Prince William urged to learn Welsh | Prince William
Language champions and nationalist politicians have called on the new Prince of Wales to learn Welsh, after the country’s first minister stressed how important it is for modern Wales.
Mark Drakeford said no one expected William to be fluent in Welsh, but suggested he “would like to acknowledge the importance of the Welsh language and the role it plays in shaping contemporary Wales “.
Nia Jeffreys, a Plaid Cymru councilor who campaigned for St David’s Day to become a public holiday, agreed. “The Welsh language is at the heart of modern Wales: understanding and respect for the language is essential for anyone involved in public life in Wales,” she said.
“I have a huge admiration for anyone who is committed to learning Welsh: learning a new language takes years of hard work, but it’s very rewarding and can also be fun. I’m sure many would support and help William and Kate get on with it. they were deciding to embark on the learning journey,” Jeffreys said.
King Charles spent nine weeks at Aberystwyth University learning Welsh language and history before his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969. He was taught by Welsh nationalist Dr Tedi Millward and later spoke a number of speeches in Welsh.
Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Welsh language and culture, Heledd Fychan, said: “Welsh is a language that belongs to all of us. Learning Welsh can enrich someone’s experience of Welsh culture, way of life, sense of community and understanding of Welsh history. As a descendant of Brythonic, the ancient language of much of Britain, learning Welsh can also tell us a lot about the rest of Britain.
“Plaid Cymru wants to make sure everyone has the right to learn and use Welsh. This should, of course, include Prince William too.
The Welsh language was front and center at the service of prayer and reflection at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff on Friday, with Drakeford reading the Bible in Welsh.
But it has angered some that Charles’ visit to Wales is taking place on Owain Glyndŵr Day, a celebration of the life and legacy of the last Welshman known as the Prince of Wales. Many nationalists and republicans see the modern incarnation of the title as a symbol of English oppression, and nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition calling for its abolition.
Huw Morgan, one of the organizers of an event to celebrate Owain Glyndŵr Day in Mid Wales, said: “The short answer is that he should learn Welsh.”
He added: “If William learned Welsh to a decent level and actually used it on, for example, visits to Wales, I think that would go a long way to encouraging more people to learn Welsh. And while I would still be opposed to the Royal Family, my respect for William would be increased somewhat.
Some are so against the concept of the Prince of Wales title that they think the debate about him speaking Welsh is irrelevant.
Ffred Ffransis, a leading member of pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society), said: “Learning a little Welsh would be symbolic. The truth is that we have been “trafficked” as a people from one prince to another. Insults that we can bear, and we are used to it. But it is a medieval affront to democracy.
Marion Loeffler, a Welsh history reader at Cardiff University, was much more positive. She said: “The Prince and Princess of Wales – since in a historic gesture they have been confirmed together – should learn Welsh. I’m sure the Welsh community in London would be very willing to provide teachers and help.
Craig Prescott, a monarchy expert at Bangor University, said he believed Drakeford’s comments, made on BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Friday, struck the right balance.
He said: “The Welsh language is an important aspect of Welsh culture and identity. I don’t think anyone expects the Prince or Princess of Wales to be fluent in Welsh. However, showing some knowledge of Welsh and the confidence to use some Welsh is likely to be appreciated.